To screen or not to screen for prostate cancer, that is the question. Or is it?
A report from the venerable United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) made it to the media yesterday–a bit ahead of schedule–and it not only says we aren’t certain whether a man should get a PSA test to find prostate cancer early, it came flat out and said, effectively, “Don’t do it!”
Now that is a recommendation that is going to create a good deal of discussion, I would think. [more]
Whether PSA testing to find prostate cancer early really saves lives is not certain. The test has been around for over two decades, but it wasn’t until recently that there were any scientific studies that could provide evidence whether or not the test actually worked. And those two studies produced conflicting results, or so it seemed.
One study done in several European countries found that PSA screening reduced deaths from prostate cancer by about 20%. Another study done in the United States concluded that PSA screening did no such thing. In fact, in the US study, the deaths from prostate cancer were greater during the period of the … Continue reading →